Saturday, June 13, 2015

He Wasn't Fit To Shovel Shit From One Place To Another

The BBC have announced that Sarah Dollard has written - the as yet untitled - episode ten of the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. The episode has just starting filming on location in Cardiff this week and will be directed by Justin Molotnikov and will see the return of Joivan Wade as the character Rigsy who last appeared in the series eight story Flatline. Sarah has previously written for The Game, Being Human and Neighbours. She was also script editor on episodes of Primeval and Merlin. She commented: 'Getting to play in the Doctor Who toy box is a dream come true. It’s a total honour to contribute to a show that has brought me such joy as a fan. However, writing for Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman has presented a serious problem: some days I've been too excited to actually sit down and type.'
Love Capaldi's new darza purple threads, incidentally. Superstylish.
The Doctor returned to his Big Fek-Off Rock God roots this week when yer actual Peter Capaldi was filmed channelling his inner guitar hero. This clip was posted online by Robin Banksy featuring the former Dreamboys front-man laying down some serious riffs in a Cardiff music shop on a rather tasty-looking Gretsch (it's a G5435T if this blogger is not mistaken). Play that funky gee-tar, Time Lord. And, it's only right and proper this blogger should mention that his old mate Rob Francis came up with, by a million miles, the best caption for the following photo: Doctor Who axed!
The new series of Doctor Who will apparently begin broadcasting sometime in September. Responding to a fan's enquiry on Twitter about when the popular long-running family SF drama will return to our tellybox screens, producer Nikki Wilson confirmed that 'we'll be back in September.' Wilson also wrote: 'Doctor Who is even bigger and better this year.'
The always reliable and accurate Daily Scum Mail reported earlier in the week that the even more reliable and trustworthy Sun was reporting yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch was to receive a CBE in the birthday honour's list, announced late on Friday. For services to exports, presumably. The claims came complete with suspiciously anonymous alleged quotes from an alleged 'insider.' Sir Jonathan Stephens, chair of the Honours Committee, said he was 'very disappointed' by the stories. 'We made a number of changes to tighten up procedure and to tighten up access and we'll obviously be looking to learn lessons again from the experience this time,' he said. 'Sometimes, of course, the leaks are inaccurate, so we treat it very seriously.'
In the event, of course, Benny was, indeed, honoured along with various others in the acting community - Kevin Spacey, Lenny Henry (for services to 'not being funny since 1983' probably), Eddie Redmayne, Martin Clunes, Lesley Manville and Chiwetel Ejiofor - and, wonderfully, the Lord Thy God Steven Moffat who got an OBE. For, you know, services to TARDISes and deerstalkers and that. Thoroughly well deserved and extra specially brilliant because it's something else which will likely piss off The Special People till they gurn. And, one can never have too much of that. Is it too much to hope however that, in future times, Steven will also be made an earl. Then, he'll be an earlobe. (Yes, it is an old Goodies joke, whaddya want, original material?) The Moffat's predecessor, Big Rusty Davies, was awarded an OBE in 2008.
Anyway, Benedict Cumberbatch (CBE) and his wife, Sophie Hunter, became parents of a baby boy on the very day that Benny's honour was announced. A spokesman for the couple, who married earlier this year, said that they were 'delighted to announce the arrival of their beautiful son.' The Sherlock actor and his theatre director wife met when they appeared together in the 2009 film Burlesque Fairytales. If you've never seen it, don't worry, you didn't miss much. They have kept their relationship away from the glare of the media and were rarely seen or photographed together before their engagement, which was announced with a notice in The Times. The couple married in a private ceremony with family and close friends on the Isle of Wight on Valentine's Day this year.
Achtung, fandom. BBC Worldwide have announced that yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self will visit Germany this summer for 'a special fan event' in Berlin on Friday 17 July. The event will offer German fans the opportunity to see the actors for the first time in Germany. Last year's World Tour did not include any European cities outside of the UK on the list of destinations. Yer man Capaldi said: 'So many German fans have already reached out to me about the show and I'm delighted to be travelling to their country to find out first hand why they love Doctor Who.'
Game Of Thrones was, again, a ratings hit for Sky Atlantic on Monday according to overnight figures. The penultimate episode of the fantasy drama's fifth season was watched by 1.09m at 9pm - a superb figure for a non-terrestrial channel - as dramatic events unfolded for characters including Daenerys Targaryen. Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's rotten ITV sitcom Vicious lost more than seven hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's opening episode, bringing in but 2.26m at 9pm. Elsewhere on the channel, Johnny Kingdom's Wild Exmoor interested 2.60m at 8pm, whilst Off Their Rockers continued with a truly risible 1.47m at 9.30pm. On BBC1, Nigel Slater: Eating Together averaged 2.78m at 7.30pm, before GM Food: Cultivating Fear pulled in a really not very good at all 1.68m at 8.30pm, and The Met: Policing London gathered 3.35m at 9pm. Which was, shockingly, the evening's biggest overnight audience, soaps aside. BBC2's The Wonder Of Dogs appealed to 1.08m at 7pm. Springwatch followed with 2.42m at 8pm. Japan: Earth's Enchanted Island was seen by 2.59m, besting Vicious in the same slot, while Episodes continued with eight hundred and forty thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Dispatches had an audience of nine hundred and thirty thousand punters at 8pm, before Gadget Man interested eight hundred thousand at 8.30pm and Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild was watched by 1.88m at 9pm. Man Down followed with seven hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, seven hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers watched Inside Manchester's Midland Hotel, while Big Brother stayed just above the million mark with 1.05m at 10pm. ITV2's case study for every single thing that is wrong with television and, indeed, society in the Twenty First Century, Love Island remained consistent with its second episode ratings four hundred and twenty five thousand sad, lost victims of a world in chaos. On E4, the final episode of Revenge was seen by two hundred an three thousand at 8pm.

BBC1's The Syndicate dominated the overnight ratings outside of the soaps on Tuesday. The drama continued with 5.15m at 9pm, while Fox Wars interested 1.90m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, coverage of the Women's World Cup appealed to 1.47m at 5.30pm. The match, in which France beat England 1-0, had a five-minute peak of 2.4 million, more than a million ahead of the 1.3 million high for the BBC's coverage of the European Championships two years ago. The World Cup has also been pulling in an average of more than half-a-million viewers on BBC3. The channel's coverage of Germany’s 10-0 demolition of Côte d'Ivoire on Sunday had an impressive five hundred and twenty three thousand viewers. BBC2's Springwatch brought in 2.31m at 8pm and An Hour To Save Your Life averaged 1.61m at 9pm. Rev followed with five hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. ITV's A Great Welsh Adventure With Mad Shouty Griff Rhys Jones was watched by 1.77m at 7.30pm, Me & My Guide Dog interested 1.98m at 8pm and The Enforcers gathered 1.76m at 9pm on a night in which three primetime ITV factual shows in row couldn't manage to break the two million barrier. One imagines the advertisers were thrilled by that. On Channel Four, Running The Shop brought in 1.13m at 8pm and No Offence had an audience of 1.09m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Blinging Up Baby attracted seven hundred and sixty eight thousand at 9pm while Big Brother continued with 1.08m at 10pm. ITV2's Love Island lost one hundred thousand viewers for its third episode, with three hundred and twenty three thousand which does, rather, restore ones faith in humanity. But, only slightly. E4's US import Empire was watched by three hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm.

The BBC's much-trailed The Interceptor launched with an overnight audience of over three-and-a-half million viewers on Wednesday evening. Which, is just about average for a new drama these days. The new BBC1 crime thriller starring OT Fagbenle and yer actual Trevor Eve attracted an average audience of 3.74m at 9pm. Including yer actual Keith telly Topping who thought it was quite interesting and watchable although hardly reinventing the wheel. Earlier, DIY SOS topped the night overall across all channels with 4.38m at 8pm. BBC2's Springwatch appealed to 2.00m at 8pm, followed by the new documentary series Napoleon with 1.11m at 9pm. On ITV, The Cube had an audience of 2.66m at 8pm. Long Lost Family brought in 3.66m at 9pm. Channel Four's Auction House was watched by nine hundred and thirty seven thousand punters at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E was seen by 1.63m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Animals Make You Laugh Out Loud had five hundred and fifty thousand viewers totally failing to laugh out loud or anything even remotely like it at 8pm, followed by Caught On Camera with five hundred and eighty seven thousand at 9pm and the latest episode of crass Victorian freak show Big Brother with 1.01m at 10pm. Sky1's Strike Back continued with two hundred and eighty nine thousand at 9pm, while ITV2's Love Island was seen by three hundred and fifty one thousand at 9pm.
The Big Bang Theory and Big Brother both held relatively steady ratings on Thursday night according to overnight data. However, both shows were down slightly on their respective audiences from the previous week. The Big Bang Theory's latest episode, The Maternal Combustion had an audience of nine hundred and twenty six thousand punters at 8.30pm on E4. Although Big Brother was down approximately fifty thousand viewers on Wednesday night's figures, the audience of nine hundred and fifty two thousand at 9pm was up slightly against the corresponding overnight figures week-on-week. On BBC1, The ONE Show, with guest Pete Waterman, was the top-rated programme outside of soaps with 3.38m at 7pm, followed by an audience of 3.16m for Watchdog at 8pm. The Truth About Your Teeth saw its audience fall from the previous week with 2.16m at 9pm, while 2.05m watched Question Time at 10.35pm. BBC2's Springwatch attracted 2.25m at 8pm. Meanwhile, 2.11m tuned in at 9pm for the first episode of the new drama series Stonemouth, based on one of Iain Banks's last novels. Mock The Week returned to an audience of 1.31m at 10pm. And, God, it looked tired. Tonight had an audience of to 2.1m on ITV at 7.30pm, followed by 2.17m for Big Box Little Box at 8.30pm. Britain's Busiest Airport - Heathrow was watched by 2.8m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Domino's Pizza: A Slice Of The Action drew nine hundred and fourteen thousand viewers, while The Tribe had 1.42m at 9pm. Love Island was up slightly night-on-night with three hundred and fifty seven thousand at 9pm, while Germany and Norway's 1-1 draw in the Women's World Cup brought fur hundred and sixty eight thousand to BBC3 from 8.30pm.

The BBC has released a preview of the final Top Gear footage to feature Jeremy Clarkson. Until he returns to the show in eighteen months time after the next couple of series have proved to be ratings disasters without him. Possibly. BBC2 offered the first glimpse of the previously unseen footage this week, along with the announcement that it will be included in a special ninety-minute episode to be broadcast in the near future. 'Three men (and The Stig). Two films. One more episode. Top Gear. Coming soon,' the BBC tweeted. Over last weekend - because there was a 'y' in the day, obviously - the press were full of Top Gear stories after Chris Evans, during an appearance on Channel Four's Sunday Brunch, fuelled rumours that he could replace Clarkson by revealing to host Tim Lovejoy that he would be making 'a secret Top Gear film' with an independent company. 'It's not secret any more' noted Lovejoy. Of course, every newspaper that's ever held fish and chips (like, for instance, the Gruniad Morning Star who seem incapable of letting a day go by without publishing something Top Gear-related) immediately splashed this 'exclusive' with all the hurried excitement of a small child that had just shat in their own pants. Despite the fact that Top Gear is wholly owned by the BBC and no 'independent company' would have the right to make 'a Top Gear film' or anything even remotely like it. The announcement was subsequently mocked on social media by Clarkson and his Top Gear co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May, before confirmation emerged that what Evans had actually filmed was a comedy spoof for the revival of Evans's TFI Friday and that his comments had been merely a bit of calculated self-publicity. Which worked fantastically well, let it be noted. Clarkson also appeared in the film, making this his first television appearance since his Top Gear contract expired, having previously cancelled plans to appear on Have I Got News For You. (He has since filmed an appearance on the BBC's Qi although that won't be shown until the autumn.)
And, speaking of Qi, the final three episodes of the M series were filmed in London this week. None of the episodes have yet had their titles announced. The first will feature regular guest te great Bill Bailey, first timer Jenny Eclair and yer actual Johnny Vegas, the second has that bloody weirdo Noel Fielding (who, to be fair, was rather good in his previous appearance on the show last year), the always excellent Rhod Gilbert making his first appearance on the show and Cariad Lloyd and the last episode also features Fielding along with Eddie Kadi and Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican. All of which is thoroughly excellent news because it means that awful, odious, smug, irksome, unfunny arsehole and lanky, rancid streak of worthless piss Jack Whitehall will not be appearing in any Qi episodes this series and, as a consequence, ruining this blogger's favourite panel show. Good. It seems that the Qi producers may have taken notice of this blogger's impassioned and heartfelt plea last year on the very subject of not giving the worthless full-of-his-own-importance twonk Whitehall airtime on my favourite shows. All sixteen episodes of the M series are now complete and will be broadcast on BBC2 in the autumn.
TFI Friday's anniversary special attracted an overnight audience of over three million. Chris Evans and guests including Tom Daley, Shaun Ryder, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Hamilton and Jezza Clarkson were watched by 3.35m on Friday - the highest-rated primetime programme outside of soaps and news bulletins across all channels. Elsewhere in Channel Four's schedule, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD concluded with six hundred and twenty one thousand at 8pm, with eight hundred and thirty one thousand watching Alan Carr's Chatty Man at 11pm. The Greg Davies sitcom Man Down had three hundred and seventy thousand at midnight. On Channel Five, 1.13 million sad, crushed victims of society watched a 'fake' eviction episode on Big Brother at 9pm. BBC1's primetime opened with 3.1m for The ONE Show at 7pm. A Question of Sport drew 2.7m afterwards at 7.30pm. An ancient episode of The Vicar of Dibley was watched by 1.91m people with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their lives at 8.30pm, with 2.09m tuning in for a repeat of New Tricks. The Graham Norton Show, with guests including Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane, was seen by 2.68m at 10.35pm. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape attracted 2.38m at 8pm, followed by 1.67m for an old episode of Doc Martin at 9pm. Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's sitcom Vicious continued with five hundred and ninety seven thousand at 10.40pm. BBC2 started the evening with an audience of 1.11m for Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands at 7pm, with 2.07m tuning in at 8pm for Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites. Gardener's World had an audience of 2.12m at 8.30pm, with 1.45m for Kate Humble: Living With Nomads at 9pm. The Clare Balding Show - featuring an appearance from Paul Gascoigne - drew seven hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm.

Prized Apart kicked off its first series with more than three million overnight viewers on Saturday evening. The BBC1 'adventure game show' drew 3.09m between 7pm and 8.05pm. Although, how many of those will be back next week judging from the plight of the opening episode is a question, perhaps, best left for another day. The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins followed with 3.93m. Casualty and The John Bishop Show averaged 3.87m and 2.78m respectively. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat appealed to 1.35m, before The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was watched by seven hundred and eighty five thousand in the 9pm hour. On ITV, an airing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey managed 2.95m from 7pm. Channel Four's The Nineties: Ten Years That Changed The World was seen by 1.06m from 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest Big Brother 'highlights' (and, this blogger uses that word quite wrongly) averaged seven hundred and ninety one thousand in the 9pm hour. The multichannels ratings were topped by the Women's World Cup match, as 1.21m saw England beat Mexico 2-1 in the group stage from 8.30pm.

Humans achieved record overnight numbers for Channel Four on Sunday evening. The - imaginatively-trailed - new SF thriller series brought in an average audience of 3.45 million at 9pm. This is the highest-rated launch of an original drama series on Channel Four since records began in 2002. Earlier, The Secret World Of LEGO™ gathered 2.02m at 8pm. BBC1's Countryfile - as usual - topped the night overall with 5.73m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.40m at 8pm and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell continued to shed viewers, attracting but 1.85m at 9pm, roughly half-the-number that were watching C4 at the same time. Ouch. On BBC2, Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure interested six hundred and ninety three thousand at 8pm, while The BBC At War With Jonathan Dimbleby was watched by 1.09m at 9pm. Protect Our Foster Kids drew seven hundred and one thousand at 10pm. ITV's coverage of the Euro 2016 qualifier between Slovenia and England scored an average 4.75m from 4.30pm as England virtually clinched qualification thanks to a late Wayne Rooney winner in a 3-2 victory. Catchphrase had 2.80m at 7.15pm, followed by All-Star Family Fortunes with 3.53m at 8pm. Home Fires concluded with 4.87m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the live Big Brother episode attracted 1.12m at 9pm.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 7 June 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.82m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.57m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.56m
4 The Syndicate - Tues BBC1 - 6.46m
5 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.33m
6 Home Fires - Sun ITV - 5.18m*
7 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.14m
8 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.02m
9 Rome's Invisible City - Mon BBC1 - 4.82m
10 Formula 1: The Canadian Grand Prix - Sun BBC1 - 4.46m
11 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.49m
12= Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.46m
12= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.46m
14 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 4.18m*
15 UEFA Champions League Live - Sat ITV - 4.15m
16 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 4.14m
17 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.11m
18 The John Bishop Show - Sat BBC1 - 3.53m
19 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.36m
20 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.30m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's week was, again, dominated by Springwatch with the four nightly episodes occupying places two, three, four and nine in the BBC2's weekly Top Ten. Monday night's audience of 2.61m was the most-watched of these. The channel's top-rated programme was the episode of Antiques Roadshow bumped from BBC1 to BBC2 due to the Canadian Grand Prix coverage (2.67m). Gardeners' World was watched by 2.27m, followed by Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites (2.15m) and Armada: Twelve Days To Save England (2.09m) Channel Four's top-rated shows were Benefit Street (2.29m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.23m), No Offence (1.87m) and Love It Or List It (1.82m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts was Big Brother (1.43m). Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones was, as usual, the mutichannels most-watched broadcast of the week with 2.05 million viewers, followed, also as usual, by E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.81m). More4's most watched shows were The Good Wife (four hundred and seventy seven thousand) and Anzac Girls (four hundred and twelve thousand). Midsomer Murder was ITV3's most-watched drama with nine hundred and seventy two thousand viewers, followed by Lewis (eight hundred and seven thousand). BBC4's weekly list was topped by a broadcast of the film Billy Elliot (nine hundred and ninety three thousand) and episodes seven and eight of 1864 (four hundred and fifty four thousand and four hundred and forty two thousand viewers). Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage & Death drew four hundred and thirty five thousand followed by Timeshift: The Nation's Railways (four hundred and twenty thousand) and Egypt's Lost Queen (four hundred and fifteen thousand). BBC3's most-watched programme was a repeat of Tuesday's episode of EastEnders (seven hundred twelve thousand). ITV4's highest-watched broadcast was coverage of the TT 2015 (seven hundred and ninety six thousand). 5USA's NCIS:Los Angeles attracted four hundred and eighty eight thousand, Sky Living's best-watched programmes were Criminal Minds (eight hundred and fifty seven thousand), Elementary (eight hundred and twenty five thousand) and Bones (five hundred and fifty one thousand) and Sky 1's Strike Back: The Legacy brought in nine hundred and two thousand viewers. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's most watched programme of the week - five hundred and sixty thousand, followed by Mock The Week (three hundred and sixty seven thousand), Not Going Out (three hundred and twenty nine thousand) and Qi XL (three hundred and two thousand). Drama's latest New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and one thousand, whilst Watch's Grimm had an audience of four hundred and fifty thousand and FOX's latest episode of NCIS was watched by six hundred and ninety five thousand. The fourth episode of Wayward Pines had a small increase in its week-on-week audience, with two hundred and thirty seven thousand. NCIS also topped CBS Action's list (one hundred and sixteen thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Fast N' Loud had two hundred and thirty three thousand viewers. Discovery History's Churchill's Toyshop pulled in thirty two thousand viewers, followed by Time Team (twenty four thousand). On Discovery Turbo, Wheeler Dealers drew sixty one thousand. CI's A Town & Country Murder had an audience of fifty four thousand, whilst ID's Your Worst Nightmare drew fifty seven thousand. National Geographic's T Rex Autopsy was watched by one hundred and one thousand. Yesterday's Secrets Of The Bible was seen by two hundred and thirty four thousand. The latest episode of Universal's Bates Motel had an audience of one hundred and sixty three thousand.

Here's a thought for you, dear blog reader, Wednesday of this week was 10 June 2015, the day that Marty McFy travelled forward to in Back To The Future II. It's therefore official, we now live in the future. So, where the hell are my hoverboard and jet-pack? We've been robbed.
A maximum bonus payout saw the chief executive Channel Four earn eight hundred and fifty five thousand smackers last year, almost twice as much as the head of the BBC and six times the annual salary of the Prime Minister. The total pay for David Abraham went up by sixteen per cent despite the main channel's audience share falling to just under six per cent of total viewing, the lowest share C4 has had since 1984, the channel's second full year on air. The size of the bonus forced Lord Burns, in his last year as C4 chairman, to defend the maximum payouts because the broadcaster had achieved 'creative excellence and commercial stability' in 2014, a year in which Gogglebox, The Island and Complicit had won critical acclaim. if not even remotely decent audience figures. 'After careful consideration the remuneration committee and board agreed [the payouts] following an exceptional performance,' Mister Burns said. While the broadcaster was garlanded with awards for shows such The IT Crowd, it reported a surplus of just three million knicker on increased revenues of nine hundred and thirty eight million notes after two years recording annual deficits. Damian Green, one of four Tory MPs standing as possible replacement for the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale on the Commons culture media and sport select committee, said: 'Channel Four management needs to be sensitive at a time when the future of the channel is clearly under review.' The BBC's Director General, Tony Hall, received total pay of four hundred and fifty grand, for running an organisation with four times the revenues of Channel Four's and a far bigger creative output. David Cameron has earned one hundred and forty two thousand smackers a year since becoming Prime Minister, according to Cabinet Office figures. In a statement, David Abraham said: 'Strong growth in revenues has enabled us to meet our break-even target and we have been able to launch a number of innovations to support the future sustainability of Channel Four's not-for-profit model.' The bonus payouts will do little to quell speculation that the state-owned but commercially funded broadcaster could be privatised by the government, which is hoping to raise an estimated one billion wonga. But, executive pay at Channel Four has caused less media outrage in the past than high BBC salaries because the broadcaster is funded by advertisements. And, because whinging about Channel Four doesn't sell as many copies of the Daily Scum Mail and the Torygraph as whining about the BBC for some reason. Abrahams and Jay Hunt received maximum bonus of thirty per cent of their gross salary in bonuses. The broadcaster's chief creative officer Hunt also received a maximum bonus to earn five hundred and eighty one thousand smackers in 2014, an increase of seventeen per cent overall. In defending his pay, Abrahams, claimed that total remuneration was 'level with the commercial marketplace', adding that executive pay was 'less than it was.' Whatever that means. In 2009, the year before Abrahams was appointed, total boardroom pay reached a high water mark of four million knicker after former chief executive Andy Duncan walked away with nearly one and ah half million quid for his last year in post. Total remuneration for Channel Four's top four executives including sales executive Jonathan Allan and communications director Dan Brooke this year reached £2.35m. A total of four hundred and seventy eight thousand knicker was paid out in bonuses, more than double the two hundred and twenty one thousand smackers paid out in 2013. Citing Googlebox as an idea 'few thought would be a success', Hunt claimed that the broadcaster's 'unique structure' allowed it to back 'innovative' shows. 'One of the luxuries of being not for profit [is that] you can take more risks because you're not worrying about the bottom line.' Abrahams said the channel's continued existence as a public service broadcaster was 'vital' for the creative economy and that it would not be impossible to provide such television if the broadcaster was purely commercial. Asked about the possibility of privatisation, Lord Burns, the author of an influential report into BBC funding in 2004, said: 'We are owned by the government and that is an issue for the government,' adding, 'we have always said that not-for-profit nature of Channel Four is the most crucial aspect of being owned by the public sector.' Since its foundation by the first Thatcher government in 1982 there have been infrequent attempts to fund part of Channel Four's output with some licence fee money, attempts always rejected outright by government's of both persuasions. Ahead of BBC's charter renewal negotiations this year, Abraham said commercial support was vital. 'Editorial independence and self sufficiency is very important to us. We are not looking for a handout.' Well no, mate, you've just been paid more money than most of your viewers will get in their lifetime, I can see you're not short of a bob or two. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, the right-wing lack of culture secretary, has recently met senior executives at Channel Four. In an answer to questions raised in the House of Lords a junior member of his ministerial team said there were no 'current plans' to privatise Channel Four, a statement which will do little to quell speculation amid reports that the Treasury is 'running the rule over the company.' The broadcaster said that advertising increased by two per cent in 2014 after a year which had been boosted by World Cup-related revenues. Advertising sales were 'ahead of the market the year to date,' he said with shows such as Bear Grylls' The Island, Benefits Street and The Undateables all 'performing well in prime time.' Audience share for all of Channel Four's portfolio of channels, including E4, More4 and Film4, was just a fraction under eleven per cent, down slightly on previous years. In a separate announcement timed to capitalise on the popularity of imported dramas like Borgen, Spiral and The Killing (all shown on BBC4), Channel Four is to launch a new channel dedicated to foreign language drama. The broadcaster will launch 4WorldDrama this autumn with 'Czech political thrillers, Belgian murder capers, Argentine family sagas and German Cold War pieces.'

Danny Cohen has defended the BBC's plans to move BBC3 to an online-only platform. He said the notion that the channel is the only one aimed at young people is 'ridiculous', adding that it will still be there to cater for the audience, just in a different way. 'The idea that young people are ghettoised and only watch BBC3 is ridiculous,' he told an audience at Creative Week. 'More young people watch BBC1 than watch BBC3.' The Director of BBC Television said the BBC3 move is a risky one, but he believes it is the right decision for the future of the BBC, Broadcast reports. 'Of course it's got risks, and it's likely we'll lose some audience in the beginning because television is still so powerful. That's the risk you take when you make bold moves. It's the risk the BBC took in the nineties when it went online and it's the risk it took in the noughties when it invested a lot of money in getting iPlayer launched.' Earlier this week, over seven hundred and fifty whinging fuckers - including Daniel Radcliffe, Imelda Staunton and James Nesbitt most of whom wouldn't be seen dead on BBC3 - signed a letter urging the BBC not to go ahead with the move. The 'open letter' to the broadcaster - so, these people are also too cheap to buy a sodding stamp and make it a 'closed' letter - said: 'Either the BBC can continue to cater for an increasingly elderly audience, or it can take the lead and safeguard its position as a beloved and relevant public broadcaster by investing in the talent and the audiences who are the building blocks of the future.' Where these glakes think the BBC is going to find the money to fund this cunning plan, they didn't say. Perhaps, they'd all like to give up their grossly inflated salaries for a year to help out. How about it, you lot? Interestingly, all of this occurred in a week in which the top ten most-watched programmes on BBC3 were three repeats of EastEnders, two episodes of American Dad and five episodes of Family Guy. And not one episode of anything actually made for BBC3.
The BBC has commissioned a host of new documentaries covering a range of topics from public figures to religion and family issues. For BBC2, Best will focus on the iconic footballer George Best ten years on from his death and will have access to never-before-seen footage and interviews with those close to him. The Dunblane massacre, where sixteen primary school children and their teacher were killed when a gunman walked into their school, will be the focus of One Morning In March. The documentary will include testimony from a survivor for the first time, as well as from families of those who were killed and the headmaster of the school. The Mosque will see Robb Leech gain unprecedented access to East London Mosque, Britain's biggest Muslim community, to capture a unique insight into the world behind its walls and the people who make up its everyday congregation. The Broadwater Farm riot, Baby P, Victoria Climbie and the shooting of Mark Duggan will be the focus of This Is Tottenham. The Divorce Clinic follows couples in the turbulent process of separating, using family mediation. The documentary will follow families as they try to reach decisions about their futures outside of the divorce courts. Country Life Magazine will be in the spotlight in Living In The Country and the Crown Prosecution Service has allowed cameras in to document their work for The Prosecutors, both for BBC4. Th chnnel's controller, Kim Shillinglaw said: 'I'm very proud of the documentaries we are announcing today and the remarkable talent, often tackling difficult subjects, that we are able to support.'

Kristina Rihanoff has revealed that she came close to quitting Strictly Come Dancing last year due to unwanted press attention. The professional dancer, who was paired with Simon Webbe during the BBC show's 2014 competition, told Loose Women that she thought some of the media's coverage was 'horrific', resulting in 'devastated' family members. She said: 'Last year, I was in a bad place because my mother was suffering with a breast cancer scare and the press were so horrific at that time that I thought that maybe there was a time where I needed to step out. [My mother] was extremely upset and she was absolutely devastated to read some of those things.' Speaking about her private life, Rihanoff said: 'I didn't come on the show to be portrayed in a certain way or for my private life to be splashed across the papers, because we all want some privacy.' She added: 'I think because I was raised in Soviet Russia, for me it was always - let your work speak for itself, it's all about what you do on the dance floor, how good you are as a dancer, as a choreographer and as a coach for your celebrities. That's what should be the topic of conversation.' Rihanoff also said that she understood she would get attention from signing on for magazine deals and photo-shoots with partners. She said: 'I just don't think it always has to be negative publicity, because also they don't really know the truth and the thing is, it's really up to me and the person I'm with to live our life and decide what's right, what's wrong. Years and years I've been here and I think it came to a point where I had to speak out and say something. I just don't understand why women are played against each other so widely in the press.'

A man was detained after threatening to set himself on fire outside the BBC’s London headquarters on Wednesday. BBC staff said on Twitter that the man - possibly a disgruntled Top Gear fan, possibly not - had poured petrol over himself outside New Broadcasting House and was holding a lighter before being tackled to the ground by security officers. A Metropolitan police spokesperson said: 'Police were called today, Wednesday 10 June at 9.11am to the BBC, Portland Place, to reports of a man threatening to set fire to himself. Officers attended and the man has been detained. We remain at the scene and as a precaution, two bags at the location are being looked at by specialist officers. A cordon is in place around the front of the building. Officers are working closely with security. The building has not been evacuated.' I know the BBC tends to attract attention-seekers, dear blog reader, but that's perhaps taking things a bit too far.
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Worthless bell-end Stephen Mulhern has revealed that he is currently 'in talks' about hosting a new chat show 'similar in style'(ie. 'completely unoriginal') to the The Late Late Show With James Corden. If that means we, as viewers, get to see a lot less of the odious, unfunny Corden on our screens then, frankly, that'd be pure dead fine with this licence fee payer.

Clare Balding is replacing John Inverdale as the host of the BBC's Wimbledon highlights show. The move comes two years after Inverdale was accused of making sexist comments about women's champion Marion Bartoli. Almost seven hundred people whinged when Inverdale suggested that the French player was 'never going to be a looker.' Although Inverdale has not been 'sacked' as several media outlets sneeringly reported and will remain as a commentator, Balding will present a new highlights show, called Wimbleon 2Day. Balding previously replaced Inverdale as the host of Radio 5Live's coverage of the tournament in 2014 so, John must tremble in his loafers every time she walks in the building, frankly. In a statement, the BBC said: 'John Inverdale will take up a new role on TV commentary duties at this year's championship and we are looking forward to having him as part of the team. The introduction of Wimbledon 2Day, presented by Clare Balding, will provide a fresh new look for the highlights show and continue to develop the 'today at the games' brand which Clare presented at both the Sochi Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games.' Inverdale got into trouble in 2013, when he asked his guest, Lindsay Davenport, about Bartoli: 'I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was twelve, thirteen, fourteen maybe: "Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be five feet eleven inches, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it," and she kind of is.' The BBC later apologised for the 'insensitive' comments. Inverdale put the gaffe down to 'feeling unwell' and said that he was 'horrified' for Bartoli. Interestingly, whilst lots of people had a damned good whinge about it, Bartoli herself did not appear to take offence at the comments, telling the Radio Times: 'In my mind it was never really a story. I'd known John a long time, and I knew what he was trying to say. Everyone starts with their own assets, not everyone is born the same way, but the point is that in sport - in life in general - the message is, if you have determination you can still make it happen.' Inverdale continues to front ITV's tennis coverage, where Bartoli is one of his co-presenters.

Bart Simpson has, seemingly, heard about erroneous media reports that his parents Homer and Marge are breaking up. And he's not having any of it. Bart found himself at the blackboard writing lines once again and took the opportunity to set the record straight about his parents potentially separating. The picture of Bart was tweeted from the official Simpsons account with the caption: 'RT and stop the rumours!' News of The Simpsons golden couple's alleged split came via executive producer Al Jean, who recently said: 'In the [next series] première, it is discovered after all the years Homer has narcolepsy and it's an incredible strain on the marriage. Homer and Marge legally separate, and Homer falls in love with his pharmacist, who's voiced by Lena Dunham.' This was then, eagerly, reported by numerous media outlets. Because, they're all as thick and pig's shit, basically and don't have any 'real' news to print. However, in a statement to The Wrap, Jean clarified his - clearly semi-serious - comments, saying: 'I didn't say Homer and Marge are breaking up. I said they are bigger than Jesus.' Season twenty seven of The Simpsons starts on FOX on 27 September in the US. Season twenty six is currently being shown on Sky 1 in the UK, with new episodes every Thursday. Sideshow Bob and Spider-Pig will reportedly appear in the next season of The Simpsons.
Downton Abbey creator Lord Snooty has spoken about why the ITV drama is ending after six series. 'It was never going to run eleven years' he said. Indeed. Six was more than enough. About six too many, in fact.
Columnist, author and total babe Caitlin Moran has confirmed that her sitcom Raised By Wolves - which this blogger considered to be patchy, but occasionally brilliant beyond words - is returning for a second series. The comedy is a modern-day fictionalised version of Moran sisters Caitlin and Caroline's childhood in Wolverhampton and their experiences with their no-nonsense mother Della (played by the excellent Rebekah Staton). Moran confirmed the Channel Four show would return on Twitter, writing: 'Hurrah for us! Raised By Wolves is coming back for a second series! Wank away the pain!' Hey, it works for me. Helen Monks and Alexa Davies play the sibling duo, Germaine and Aretha Garry. Molly Risker, Caden Ellis Wall, Lucie Brown and Kaine Zajaz also appear in the comedy.
Former Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding has criticised the BBC's decision to move the long-running children's show from BBC1. Which occurred in 2013 so this, seemingly, qualifies as 'news'. Although what the hell it has to do with her is another question entirely. Blue Peter, which Fielding co-hosted from 1987 until 1992, moved to the CBBC channel two years ago as part of the switch of the BBC's children's programming to its two dedicated Freeview children's channels. Fielding told the new issue of Radio Times: 'I don't have the time [to watch it], but I am angry that it has been moved from BBC1 to CBBC. It deserves to be on mainstream television – not on the digital channel.' The irony of which, one trusts, will not be lost on anyone who has ever had the misfortune to watch any of Fielding's wretched, crassly fake and tabloidesque 'paranormal' shows which are, of course, broadcast on digital channels (not even Freeview, usually, but ones that you have to pay to have your intelligence insulted by). Stick to hunting non-existent ghosts, chuck and leave 'thinking' to other people.
Whispering Bob Harris has written his memoirs, revealing a wealth of stories about the guests he has encountered over the years on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Still Whispering After All These Years: My Autobiography is the radio stalwart's second autobiography following 2001's The Whispering Years. The Daily Torygraph has picked out its favourite ten anecdotes, including why John Lennon was paid in chocolate biscuits to appear on The Old Grey Whistle Test and how a number of celebrities were drunk during filming. And yes, it does include further details on the time Sid Vicious and Jah Wobble tried to beat the shit out of Bob at The Speakeasy only to be prevented from doing so by members of Procul Harem's road crew.
Media regulator Ofcom has received more than eleven hundred complaints about odious, shitty, full-of-her-own-importance Sky News presenter Kay Burley's questioning of the chief executive of Alton Towers' owners following last week's rollercoaster crash. The regulator said on Wednesday that it has received one thousand one hundred and sixty two complaints about Burley's Gestapo-style interrogation of Nick Varney, the chief executive of Merlin Entertainment, as she grilled him about the accident on the park's The Smiler ride which left sixteen people injured. In the interview, Burley repeatedly pressed Varney to reveal whether an, at the time unconfirmed, report that one of the victims had lost a leg was true. 'We are deeply sorry for the accident that happened,' he said. Burley replied: 'I'm sure they are not interested in your sympathy at this stage. They went to have a fantastic day and they have potentially lost a limb – you won't tell us if they have or not.' He, sadly, didn't respond with something along the lines of 'that's none of your sodding business, you horrible, smug smear of a woman' but, instead, said: 'With all due respect, to be telling you stuff like that is absolutely personal information to those individuals and their families.' Varney later accused Burley of 'misrepresenting' what he was saying, which she denied. Well, she would, wouldn't she? As with most major media stories these days, a petition was quickly up on stating that the interview was 'awful' and that Burley was 'rude'. Yes. So, what else is new? At the time of writing, the petition was just fifty people shy of the thirty five thousand target demanding that Burley be sacked. One imagines it will be ignored by Sky News every bit of publicly as the one hundred thousand plus petition demanding that the BBC reinstate Jezza Clarkson was. Ofcom has confirmed that it is 'assessing' the complaints.
The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup has been postponed amid allegations surrounding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that it was 'a nonsense' to begin the process 'in the current climate.' The vote to decide who will host the 2026 World Cup is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017. The United States are the front-runners to stage the tournament, but Canada, Mexico and Colombia are also thought to be interested. Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups by a secret ballot of FIFA's twenty two executive members in December 2010. But, Swiss prosecutors are now investigating alleged 'financial irregularities' surrounding the bidding process. Both Russia and Qatar have denied any wrongdoing. Well they would, wouldn't they? Football's world governing body had planned to inform its member federations this week of the bidding schedule for 2026, but Valcke said: 'Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being.' Speaking in the Russian city of Samara, Valcke also defended FIFA's handling of a ten million dollars payment from the South African government towards a Caribbean 'diaspora legacy' programme. US prosecutors allege that the payment was 'a bribe' to help secure the 2010 World Cup. The South African government insists that it was 'a legitimate payment' to 'promote Caribbean football.' 'It was not FIFA's money. It was a request from official South African authorities and the South African Football Association. As long as it is in line with rules we do it,' claimed Valcke. One or two people even believed him. 'I don't understand what's the problem and why I am such a target in this question.' Soon to be former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has announced he will step down from his role, amid the ongoing allegations of corruption in the governing body, including the indictment of fourteen people on corruption charges by US authorities after an FBI investigation. He is expected to be replaced at an election on 16 December. When faced with questions over his own future, Valcke said: 'You - the media - have decided that after Blatter I am the head to be cut. Fine. But, don't say it is because of this ten million dollars." Meanwhile, UEFA chief and former French international oily Michel Platini 'declined to comment' further on the FIFA scandal. Platini has previously called for change in FIFA, but speaking at a news conference to mark a year until the start of the European Championship, which France is hosting, he said that it was 'not the time nor the place' to discuss FIFA matters. 'I do not want the news about FIFA to get in the way of news about UEFA,' he said, adding that he would 'address these matters' as well as speculation he could stand for FIFA president at some point in the future.

Interpol has suspended a joint anti-match-fixing programme with FIFA over the allegations of corruption against the football governing body. The international police agency is freezing the twenty million Euro donated by FIFA in 2011 for the programme. The ten-year 'Integrity in Sport' agreement was intended to combat match-fixing and illegal gambling. 'In light of the current context surrounding FIFA, while Interpol is still committed to developing our Integrity in Sport programme, I have decided to suspend the agreement,' Juergen Stock, the head of Interpol, said in a statement. 'All external partners, whether public or private, must share the fundamental values and principles of the organisation, as well as those of the wider law enforcement community,' he added. The agreement between Interpol and FIFA stated that the football body must be 'compatible with the principles, aims and activities of Interpol.' By, not being as bent as a David Beckham free-kick, essentially. Also in FIFA news, Paraguay has ended diplomatic immunity for the offices of South America's CONMEBOL football association and FIFA's communications chief, Walter De Gregorio, was sacked on Thursday, apparently after making a joke about the crisis on Swiss television. Gregorio told theSwiss chat show Schawinski: 'The FIFA president, secretary general and communications director are all travelling in a car. Who's driving? The police.' Heh.That's actually quite funny. FIFA, however was not amused and announced in a statement that De Gregorio had 'relinquished his office.' However, the BBC said that it understood he was ;asked to leave by Sepp Blatter.' De Gregorio, who has held the role since September 2011, is also understood to have clashed with Blatter after a disagreement with one of the president's cronies.

The British comedian John Oliver has paid for air-time on Trinidad television in order to ask the former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to stand by his word and reveal what he knows about corruption inside world football’s governing body. In a four-minute segment shown on TV6, Trinidad's largest private broadcaster, on Tuesday night, Oliver called on Warner to 'release everything' after the disgraced and disgraceful seventy two-year-old and former president CONCACAF president used his own paid-for political broadcast on TV6 to claim that he 'had proof' of FIFA wrongdoing. Warner's broadcast was called The Gloves Are Off, leading to Oliver, who has been a staunch and witty critic of FIFA for some time, largely in his role as presenter of the US show Last Week Tonight, to call his The Mittens Of Disapproval Are On. 'I've been looking through the indictment,' said Oliver during his message to Warner. 'Good luck with that.'
They just can't get anything right, can they? Steve McClaren's brave new world at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United was tinged with acrimony even before he had completed his first day on Tyneside. Instead of outlining his route map to success for the Toon Army to everyone (that came the following day in a - rather impressive, let it be said - interview with BBC local radio's Mick Lowes), McClaren was only allowed to speak to what are usually known as 'preferred media partners' - providing a sideshow on what should have been a showpiece day for The Magpies. Newcastle's press handling came under fire, not for the first time, after sport journalists accused the football club of allowing just one newspaper and one broadcaster exclusive interviews with its new manager on the day his appointment was made. The Daily Mirra's article on the appointment trailed an 'exclusive' interview with McClaren. Which, of course, pissed off journalists from The Times, Daily Scum Mail, the Torygraph and the Independent right royally, all of whom vented their considerable spleen on Twitter, claiming the Daily Mirra and Sky had agreed a deal to get 'preferential' access from Newcastle. Daily Scum Mail correspondent Craig Hope whinged about the alleged deal and Sun journalist David Coverdale claimed the new manager has been, effectively, 'gagged.' The social media storm comes less than a year after the Sun and the club were forced to deny reports of an 'exclusive media partnership.' In July last year, Mirra football correspondent Simon Bird was among a number of reporters who claimed the Sun was the only newspaper invited to a press conference. Torygraph journalist Luke Edwards was among those who pointed out the apparent role reversal.
The publisher of Mirra newspapers has been extremely refused permission to appeal against a record £1.2m award of damages to eight people whose phones were hacked by its naughty journalists. However, the court was told there was 'no doubt' Mirra Group Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mirra, the Sunday Mirra and the Sunday People, would continue with its legal challenge in the court of appeal. Lord Pannick, QC, for MGN, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirra, said that the compensation awarded had been comparable to those who had sustained moderate brain damage or serious psychiatric harm. Seeking permission to appeal on Wednesday, he said: 'It can't be disputed that this case does raise issues are important, that are unresolved above the level of the high court and are difficult.' He said that Mr Justice Mann had 'double counted' in awarding damages when a claimant had been the subject of a series of articles and had awarded damages comparable to serious personal injury cases. He said the awards were 'disproportionate' to breaches of privacy cases in Strasbourg. The judge, he said, awarded separate awards for distress and for hacking, but should instead have used a 'global approach' covering the 'totality of wrongs.' David Sherborne, counsel for the eight claimants, said that the appeal was 'hopeless. The reason that it is higher than hitherto privacy case is we are taking about multiple articles and serious levels of intrusion never seen before,' Sherborne said. He added the damages awarded for a single article did not exceed the sixth thousand smackers awarded to Max Mosley in his privacy case against the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of The World. The judge refused permission to appeal, saying MGN's arguments had 'no real prospect of success.' Pannick said there was 'no doubt' MGN would now apply directly to the court of appeal. Actor Sadie Frost received the largest sum of two hundred and sixty thousand smackers, with former England footballer Paul Gascoigne getting one hundred and eighty eight grand and BBC executive Alan Yentob receiving eighty five thousand knicker. Actors Shobna Gulati, Lucy Taggart and Shane Richie received one hundred and seventeen grand, one hundred and fifty thousand notes and one hundred and fifty five thousand smackers respectively. TV producer Robert Ashworth, who was married to the actress Tracy Shaw, received two hundred and one thousand quid and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with the footballer Rio Ferdinand, was awarded seventy two thousand knicker. The judge said that the awards, unparalleled in any UK privacy case, were because the invasions were 'so serious and so prolonged.' Earlier, the court heard that Yentob had rejected an out-of-court settlement from MGN which was greater than the sum he was eventually awarded in the trial. Mann agreed that 'in monetary terms it [the offer to settle] was a more valuable offer than the eighty five thousand pounds he got from me.' MGN argued this meant Yentob should pay a proportion of his own costs as he had failed to exceed their offer to settle. The judge ruled that both parties should bear their own costs.

A German researcher has published in the New England Journal Of Medicine claims that a study including two hundred health men over five years, including three separate hospitals, has concluded that men looking at 'busty women' for ten minutes every day, will extend their lifespan by five years. Which, co-incidentally, is the very excuse that this blogger has been using for most of his adult life.
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On the same day that it was announced dear old Christopher Lee had died we also lost another of the greats, Ron Moody. Ron, who was most famous for his portrayal of Fagin in Oliver!, died in London aged ninety one. The character actor was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his performance in the 1968 Charles Dickens adaptation. Later in his career, he appeared in EastEnders as Edwin Caldecott, an old nemesis of Jim Branning, and he also played Merlin in Disney's A Kid In King Arthur's Court among many other memorable roles. His widow, Therese, said that Ron would be 'greatly missed. He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many. He was singing until the end,' she added. Ron once said that he saw himself not as a great comic actor (one of the finest this country has ever produced, in fact) but rather as a writer and composer of musicals. Most of the world could never quite be persuaded to agree. Ron was born Ronald Moodnick in Tottenham in January 1924, the son of Jewish immigrants. His father, a film studio executive, anglicised the family name to Moody several years later. Ron came from a theatrical family, his cousins included the director Laurence Moody and the actress Clare Lawrence. He was educated at Southgate County School, which at the time was a grammar school based in Palmers Green, followed by the London School of Economics. During World War II he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and became a radar technician. He had originally planned to become an economist and did not take up acting seriously until his late-twenties which was followed by a decade of bit-parts in film and television and a growing reputation as a classical stage actor and a brilliant improv comedian. His big break came in 1960 when he was given the part of Fagin, the leader of a band of juvenile pickpockets, in Oliver!, the stage musical version of Dickens's Oliver Twist. When the possibility of creating the role of Dickens's miserly mentor arose, Ron was wary: 'At first I never wanted to do it,' he recalled. 'They told me there was this musical of Oliver Twist so I went to see the Alec Guinness film, which I found to be so anti-semitic as to be unbearable. But [Lionel] Bart is as Jewish as I am and we both felt an obligation to get Fagin away from a viciously racial stereotype and instead make him what he really is – a crazy old Father Christmas gone wrong.' 'Fate destined me to play Fagin. It was the part of a lifetime,' he said later. The actor first played the part in the original production of Lionel Bart's musical in both the West End and on Broadway (where he played opposite firstly Tony Robinson and then Davy Jones as The Artful Dodger), before making the movie version (with Jack Wild and Mark Lester in the title role) seven years later. Speaking about the making of the film to the Gruniad in 2012, Moody said that he never expected to reprise his role in the movie because there had been 'backstage hostilities' on the stage production. By the time the musical opened, he had come to think of the part as a symbol of Jewish survival. His habit of often ad-libbing his lines annoyed others in the cast, particularly Georgia Brown as Nancy, and Bart had to ask Ron to stick to what he had done on the first night. But, despite Columbia wanting Peter Sellers for the movie, Bart and director Carol Reed insisted on Moody. Ron recalled, 'that summer of 1967 was one of the happiest times of my life. My proudest moment was the number 'Reviewing The Situation'. I suspect that, because I gave my all to the role, and because I was working with such a fine team of people, it inhibited my future career,' he added. 'I turned down quite a few offers afterwards because I thought the people didn't come close to those I'd worked with on Oliver! - which, in retrospect was a mistake.' 'If I had stayed in America afterwards, then things would probably have been much better and I would have had lots of film work, which I wanted,' Ron said. 'But the day after the Oscars I flew back to London to film a television play for Anglia. It was a big mistake because you never really get acknowledged for wanting to work in England, as I did. I just think now that you are a bloody fool if you do that. You should take the money when you can.' The actor later said that his biggest regret was turning down the opportunity to become The Doctor in Doctor Who. He, reportedly, turned down the part twice, certainly in 1969 when he was asked to replace Patrick Troughton and then again, allegedly, in 1974 when Jon Pertwee announced his departure. But Ron's lengthy career saw him play Captain Hook five times, Uriah Heep in David Copperfield, and the title role in Sherlock Holmes: The Musical. His other films included The Twelve ChairsLegend Of The Werewolf, The Sandwich Man, A Pair Of Briefs and Unidentified Flying Oddball. Ron appeared in several children's television series, including the voice of Badger and Toad in the TV adaptation of Colin Dann's The Animals Of Farthing Wood, Noah's Island, Telebugs, Midnight Is A Place, the cult fantasy series Into The Labyrinth, The Avengers, Tales Of The Unexpected, Last Of The Summer Wine and made guest appearances in series like The Bill, Casualty and Holby City, his final appearance in the latter coming in 2012. During his time in the US in the 1970s, he made an under-rated comedy police drama, Hart Of The Yard about a rather old-world Scotland Yard officer seconded to San Francisco (it was cancelled after just eight episodes) and made a guest appearance in Starsky & Hutch. Among his better known film roles was the Prime Minister Rupert Mountjoy in the comedy The Mouse On The Moon (1963), alongside Margaret Rutherford, with whom he appeared again the following year in Murder Most Foul. He played the French entertainer and mime artist The Great Orlando in the 1963 Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday and appear in the John Cleese Sherlock Holmes spoof The Strange Case Of The End Of Civilization As We Know It (1977). He acted again with former Oliver! co-star Jack Wild in Flight Of The Doves (1971). In 2005, he appeared in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Other Lives, playing The Duke of Wellington. Keen to emphasise his versatility, in 1983 he presented some of his inventions from the previous three decades in a one-hour show for Channel Four. Under the title The Other Side Of London, he employed familiar locations in the capital as backdrops not only for Fagin, but also a dancing Scrooge, a tap-dancing Dracula and a crooning Quasimodo. Ron is survived by his widow and their six children.
Big band leader James Last has died in Florida, aged eighty six. The German-born musician's manager said that Last died at his home 'peacefully and in the presence of his family.' Last sold millions of records with his trademark 'happy music' and was a regular fixture on British TV for many years. He appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in the spring of this year as part of a farewell tour he had announced after becoming seriously ill in 2014. The illness, which 'took a life-threatening turn' last September, apparently forced him to face the fact that 'a man full of plans, needs to not just slow down but give up his life on tour altogether.' But, Last said that the tour would give him the opportunity to bid farewell to his fans. 'The main thing is that my fans have the best concerts of their lives and we will make this our "happiest" concert yet,' he said when he announced the tour in February. Last began his music career in the 1960s, making instrumental recordings as James Last & His Orchestra - a big band with additional strings and a choir. Over his career he produced sixty five hit LPs in Britain alone, and at his peak, was creating two LPs a month. Born in Breman in 1929, Last grew up in the suburb of Sebaldsbrück. He began studying the piano at the age of ten, although he claimed that he could play simple tunes such as the folk song 'Hänschen Klein' from an even earlier age. His first music teacher felt that he lacked any obvious musical talent. switched to the double bass as a teenager. His home city was bombed heavily during World War II and Last ran messages to air defence command posts during the raids. He entered the Bückeburg Military Music School of the German Wehrmacht at the age of fourteen and learned to play brass, piano and tuba. After the end of the war, he joined Hans Günther Oesterreich's Radio Bremen Dance Orchestra. In 1948 he became the leader of the Last-Becker Ensemble, which performed for seven years. He was voted as the best bassist in the country in a German jazz poll for three years running in the early 1950s. When the Last-Becker Ensemble disbanded, Last became an in-house arranger for Polydor Record. During the next decade he helped arrange hits for artists such as Helmut Zacharias, Freddy Quinn, Lolita, Alfred Hause and Caterina Valente. Last's 1965 LP, Non-Stop Dancing, was a recording of of a medley of popular songs tied together by an insistent dance beat and crowd noises. It was a hit across Europe and, over the next four decades, Last released almost two hundred LPs, including several more volumes of Non-Stop Dancing. He also had his own successful television series throughout the 1970s with guests including ABBA and Lynsey de Paul which was screened across Europe. Last's trademark sound employed big band arrangements of well-known tunes with a jaunty dance beat, often heavy on bass and brass. The BBC spoke to the musician in March as he performed his final British shows at London's Royal Albert Hall. 'I can't talk about goodbye - it's a terrible feeling,' he said. The musician's manager said: 'Mr Last passed away yesterday in Florida, peacefully and in the presence of his family. In him, the world loses a unique ambassador whose expressive and all-encompassing language was music. We bid farewell to the man, friend and visionary, who by his impressive strength and openness, his professionalism, modesty and love of life served as a role model and as an inspiration for many generations worldwide.' A public memorial service will take place in Hamburg in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, this blog's own memorial is this performance of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine' by James Last and his band. Which has to be seen to be believed, frankly. He is survived by his second wife, Christine and his two children, Ronald and Caterina.

Sadly for fans of BBC4's Top Of The Pops repeats (of whom this blogger is, very much, one) they've suddenly disappeared from the schedules due to industrial action – thirty five years ago. Famously, a Musicians' Union strike during the summer of 1980 over the disbanding of the Top Of The Pops orchestra forced it off air for ten weeks (during which time Don McLean's 'Crying' became the UK's lowest-selling number one single ever due to the absence of a television boost). BBC4 has dutifully complied with the enforced break, but will resume broadcasting those shows that weren't presented by dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotten Jimmy Savile and disgraced and disgraceful convicted sex offender Dave Lee Travis, in August. Just in time for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved The Jam to hit the toppermost of the poppermost with 'Start!' Excellent timing.

According to the Daily Torygraph, Ed Sheeran (he's a popular beat combo, apparently, m'lud) has claimed that he is 'responsible for boosting the sex lives of ginger men.' As a ginger man please allow this blogger to, personally, confirm this is not so. Not even close.
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl is thought to have broken his leg after falling off the stage during a concert in Gothenburg on Friday. The band were two songs into their set at the Ullevi stadium when the singer went to jump on a ramp but, you know, missed and fell into the security area with a muffled crunch. 'I think I just broke my leg,' Grohl told the crowd as he lay on the ground. 'I'm going to go to hospital. I'm going to fix my leg. And then I'm going to come back.' He added: 'You have my promise right now that the Foo Fighters - we're going to come back and finish the show.' He reappeared after an hour to continue the concert, sitting in a chair with his leg bandaged. His band later tweeted a picture of what appears to be an x-ray of his leg.
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine broke her foot leaping off stage at the Coachella Music Festival in April, while Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group misjudged his step and fell off the stage during the opening night of the band's Innocence and Experience tour. Both of which were, to be fair, bloody hilarious.

For those interested in such malarkey, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has bypassed the Cap'n Boyd's-Eye phase and is currently looking like a cross between George V and Oliver Reed in The Curse Of The Werewolf.
Yer actual managed twenty six lengths at the pool on Wednesday morning with, once again, virtually no movement below the hips due to the back being, you know, bad. As a consequence, his arms felt like jelly. And custard. Mmmm. Anyway, one day earlier, this blogger had the first of three - count 'em - visits to the medical centre over the next ten days; this was was just the annual six monthly diabetes check-up, to get the blood and the wee-wee extracted (no jokes please). The results will be in next week. But, cautious good news, the weight is fractionally down on a fortnight ago (half-a-kilo, if you're taking notes) and the blood pressure was 'fine' according to the lovely Janice. Next Tuesday yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be back for the results and then next Thursday he has to see Doctor Chris again to see if his back has improved or, you know, imploded under its own current crapness. Also this week, this blogger was doing the weekly shop at Morrison's and, as he was standing waiting for the bus back to Stately Telly Topping Manor he got to witness a really violent confrontation between two drunk blokes outside of the Cheap Shop at the bottom of Shields' Road. The one that was slightly less drunk than the other, gave the more drunk one a real thorough, 'on-the-floor-kicking-his-head-in' hiding before getting dragged off by someone whom I presume was his woman who was screaming 'it's not worth it!' You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, hows about a quality bit of yer actual Sly & His Family Stone and that. Hot damn.

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